Tuesday, 2 September 2014


It felt like a scene right out of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963). They were flying about innocuously at first, quite willing to pose for photographs. Gradually I noticed a pattern: they were flocking to anyone they suspected had food.

Being lunchtime, it was perfect for pickings. Like many others, I had bought a pack of fish and chips from a stall at the Circular Quay ferry terminal. But unlike others, I had no strength in numbers. Granted, even they weren't spared. But as I tried to sneak each piece of chip out of the bag, one seagull landed quietly close to the bench. 'Don't pay too much attention to me,' it seemed to suggest, 'I'm just hanging out at the harbour, much like yourself.' So were hundreds of seagulls. My feathered companion squawked a few times. Could it be trying to gather its friends? 'Look! There's a lone ranger here, we might be able to take him on!'

This wasn't quite my idea of bird-watching, so I calmly packed up my things and went to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Past a group of boys kicking a ball around, all seemed fairly pleasant. I found a nice spot with a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. A man and a woman were planking on the grass not too far away from me. The moment I put down my bag of fish and chips, a crow swooped in about 3 metres away. It watched, no, stared at me. I tried to shoo it away but it was I who blinked. Once again, food in hand and bag on shoulder, I ventured further into the park.

I eventually found a place to have lunch. The fish was good. There were too many chips though, which I could not finish.

If the seagulls had asked nicely, I might have been willing to share.